Connecticut High Court Hearing Immigrant-Benefits Case

By Dave Collins | November 30, 2010 | 2:32 PM EST

Hartford, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the state can deny taxpayer-funded medical benefits to some impoverished legal immigrants.

The justices are hearing the case Tuesday afternoon.

U.S. law bars legal immigrants from receiving federal Medicaid money until they have lived in the country for five years. Connecticut provides medical benefits to such new immigrants, but last year it passed a law sought to stop the practice to save money.

Lawyers for 4,800 lawful immigrants sued. A Hartford Superior Court judge ruled in December 2009 that the law violated the immigrants' constitutional rights by denying medical benefits based on citizenship status. The state appealed.

Similar laws in other states have been struck down.